Casa Amatller is special place for chocolate, architecture and history, in Barcelona. Once the residence of chocolatier’s family, the house – designed by a famous architect of those times – is, today, a chocolate shop with cafe, as well as museum dedicated to the historical Catalan brand of chocolate.
At a very young age, Antoni Amatller, chocolatier and grandson of the founder of Chocolate Amatller, crossed half of Europe, to discover new industrial technologies. In 1878, when he was just 28, he built a modern factory, near Barcelona: a factory with a revolutionary system of production that allowed the company to make chocolate quickly and on a large scale, without losing any of its quality.
From time to time, he traveled to Cuba to personally supervise the cocoa crops that he imported to make his chocolate.
The amazing building of Casa Amatller, designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch, a contemporary of Gaudí, combines the neo-Gothic style with a ridged façade inspired by houses in the Netherlands, and is part of the block known as the mansana de la discòrdia of Barcelona.
The architect worked with some of the finest artists and craftsmen in Barcelona of the modernista times, headed by the sculptors Eusebi Arnau and Alfons Jujol.
Today, the building’s vestibule, where there are two staircases, as was the custom at the time – one to the main floor and the other to the homes of the other residents, can be visited, as well as the Amatller store and Information Office on Modernism.
Two of the Special Tastes
Of the many wonders one can find inside the Amatller shop, here are two of our favorite ones.
Origins Bars: Single Origin Cacao
The Origins Bars is a range produced using cacao from a single origin, Ecuador or Ghana, with the two cases providing percentages of 75% or 85%. Apart from these four bars there is also one made with milk chocolate – which always has the lowest cacao content – originating only in Ghana and with a touch of the renowned Bourbon vanilla.
These bars are graphically expressed in a black top half which highlights the information, strongly contrasting with the with the organic Art Nouveau strokes of two posters by Alphonse Mucha, produced for Chocolates Amatller in the late 19th century.
Flor de Cava: Truffles with Marc de Cava
A truffle interior made with Marc de Cava, covered in 50% chocolate: this is a combination that is fresh and light, still with distinct character. These truffles bring together the volatile freshness and woody taste of Marc de Cava with the toasted notes and creaminess of cocoa. (Marc de Cava is the result of the distillation and further aging of certain elements of the grape, used to make cava.)
Chocolate Packaging Design
Amatller created advertising posters for many decades, employing artists like Alphonse Mucha, Rafael de Penagos and Josep Triadó to illustrate them.
In contrast to today, advertisers in the 19th century has only a small range of options to reach out to the general public. Posters and the written press were the main methods that brands used to get their messages across. As well as advertising the chocolate, the resulting images also helped to popularize art, to reflect the society of the time and even to influence popular thinking.